Monday, October 3, 2011

Finding work that needs doing – Promoting the constructive use of technology

Hello everyone – it is good being back! As promised at the conclusion of my previous posting, we will spend some time looking at a couple of macro issues, which have been identified by Sunny Hansen in the conceptualisation of the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) model. There will probably not be too many surprises in terms of the topics here, but I think we will do well by looking at these issues from the ILP approach. The current and couple of postings to follow will be looking at macro needs and their relevance to the context of human development.

As if she was able to see in to the future, Hansen suggested the first macro issue to be promoting the constructive use of technology. Some detractors may say the ILP model was written in the previous century, and will therefore not be relevant in today’s context. Before throwing out the baby with the bathwater, let us briefly look at the ILP approach to the constructive use of technology. When the original work was produced, Hansen made quite a bit of the issue of networking; she described it as one of the most important words of the Information Age and proffered a variety of example contexts. These included computer networks (yes, even then!), team networks, personal and professional networks, and the like.

She also suggested an increased use of technology in the practice of teaching and learning. Again, many examples of the integration of technology into the education arena of today can be found. One only needs to think of SMART board technology, which is finding application in various international contexts.

If we were to further explore networking, various other forms of interaction and collaboration now seem to be taking place – it would be quite possible to compile a long list of examples. Perhaps one of the most interesting and influential phenomena of the current time is the prevalence of social media, yet another form of networking. With examples aplenty, we will be committing an oversight if we were to disregard the importance of social media in its various shapes and forms on lives in 2011. Career development professionals are essentially required to integrate social media into their understanding of their clients. If we think back to the basic assumptions and statements underpinning the ILP model, we should agree that ILP offers an approach to career developmental specialists to harness change.

In addition to the above, Hansen also opined that in future, we will be relying on computers and television to meet most of our service needs! Considering the current state of technology – which is being improved and characterised by new innovations by the minute – we will be hard-pressed to say she was wrong! I do not want to dwell on a discussion of the new wave of integration taking place between television and the internet; we have all seen it – to ignore the integration of these two powerful forms of media will be a superb example of short-sightedness (and stupidity!) by individuals and business corporations alike.

Taking the ILP approach and perspective of the career development professional, we will agree that technological change is (just) another form of change. By factoring the external context – which, is discussed in terms of promoting the constructive use of technology – into any and all career development interventions, career professionals will be able to make a contribution towards the constructive application of technology. As you may have realised, the current posting does not discuss the improper or destructive application of technology. As we are all well aware, there are enumerate examples of technology not being applied for the greater good. Our task, as agents of change, is to promote the proper use of technology through informing the uninformed, and by including this element into our approach to clients.

Next time I will continue the discussion of these macro issues, which have to be considered by everyone taking responsibility for the career and life development of others – and themselves!

Based on the work of Sunny Hansen: Integrative Life Planning: Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life Patterns Also read the work of Neil Postman on the Surrender of Culture to Technology – Technopoly

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